Introducing Nicole: In between a pure roadie and a retro Dutch bike lover

This e-mail hit my inbox last week:

“I’d love to do some writing and reviewing for the blog. I read a lot
of other cycling blogs and there seems to be a gap for women like me
who love cycling in all it’s forms and aren’t pure roadies or retro
Dutch bike lovers. There has to something in between?”

With that I knew one of my goals for London Cyclist 2011 was on the way to being realised. I hereby introduce Nicole who will be contributing to London Cyclist on a weekly basis (probably Tuesdays!)…

Andreas has very kindly invited me to post on London Cyclist to add my voice to happy cycling in London. I’ve been an avid follower of the blog and have been commenting on discussion points for some time now and it seems only natural, with the growing interest in all things cycling, that we have a uniquely female perspective on the site.

My commute: Bike, Train, Boris!

I am a media lawyer who commutes by bike from West Sussex to my local railway station in all weathers. I take a train into London Bridge and then pick up a Boris bike to my office. I cycle in and around London almost every day, for pleasure or for business, almost always on a Boris bike. I’m lucky enough to be able to miss out on the morning rush, in that I don’t have to catch my train into London Bridge until about 9.15am, so my morning cycle is relatively peaceful but evenings can be as fraught as they come.

My morning commute starts like this...

...and ends like this

I ride a Specialized Globe Vienna to the railway station, a reliable workhorse, although I’m beginning to realise that upright bikes and hills don’t mix.

Vienna, loaded up with this week's bounty from the Post Office, the subject of my next post...winter gloves revisited.


The Wilier, in winter bike mode, complete with Crud mudguards and Gatorskin Ultra tyres

At the weekend I ride this Wiler Mortirolo, at the time of writing, my baby.  I love this bike.  I travel to Antwerp in Belgium every other weekend and I keep a Trek hybrid over there. It is a bike that I’ve had for at least 15 years and on which I started my London cycling journey.  In future I’m also on the lookout for a more robust road bike for my commute.  By robust, I mean one that I don’t mind leaving locked up at the station.

Finding the balance between Lycra and ordinary work clothes

So my cycling needs are quite varied, both in terms of machine, accessories and what to wear while doing it. However, because I cycle every day, I need to choose wisely and I need it to work.  I wear a mixture of full-on racing lycra and ordinary work clothes, depending on the circumstance. And I veer between longing to do the Etape du Tour or cycle through a summer’s meadow on a Pashley Princess!  I’m sure some of you can relate..

Over the coming months I’ll be posting independent gear reviews, hints and tips and discussion points on riding all year round and how to keep warm, or cool, safe and relatively stylish on the bike.  I’ll be musing on London cycling and cycling generally.  I hope some of it will be useful and if not, will be interesting enough to solicit responses so that we can all learn from each other.

On behalf of myself and members of the site.. a big warm welcome to Nicole! I’m thoroughly looking forward to you adding your flavour to our London cycling blog!

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13 Responses to Introducing Nicole: In between a pure roadie and a retro Dutch bike lover

  1. Annabel 21/12/2010 at 11:08 am #

    I have had LC on Twitter for a while and finally signed up to the newsletter today – this site really is great and I can’t believe I haven’t found it earlier really, it’s just what I have been looking for.

    Anyway – I just wanted to say I cannot wait to hear more from you Nicole, without banging on about it too much and getting annoying – there really isn’t enough of a voice for female cyclists like yourself, not just in terms of blogs, but gear, bikes, shoes the list goes on. I’m interested to hear your gear reviews and about your trials and tribulations in general.

    Also great to see that you are not stuck to just one bike, I like the variety. Admittedly I am a roadie at heart but by no means a hardcore – I’m excited to hear your views and opinions on different equipment.

    Ok – enough! Looking forward to more from you soon!

    • Nicole 21/12/2010 at 12:37 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement Annabel. It’s really great to know that what we’re doing is interesting. And I hope to be able to redress the balance somewhat between the kit that’s out there and how it works for women cyclists. The big guns are slowly waking up to the potential of marketing to women, without using flowery, swirly pink decals, although nothing wrong with that if that’s your bag!

      I’m looking forward to the next post as well…I have so much to say. I hope it strikes a chord and provides more ideas and comment from LC followers.

      • Annabel 21/12/2010 at 10:02 pm #

        Oh don’t even get me started on the swirly pink decals…. !

        Can’t wait for your next post!

  2. Alexander Baxevanis 21/12/2010 at 11:42 am #

    Great news, good to have stuff from a different perspective on the blog. Are you still interested in one-off user contributed reviews?

    • Andreas 21/12/2010 at 11:54 am #

      Of course, always open to that..

  3. Robert Latchford 21/12/2010 at 11:44 am #

    Excellent post. Love the retro Dutch! Unfortunately my bike route is just too dangerous to travel at the moment as the road have lost 20-25% of their width due to poor plowing! Awaiting the thaw and the weekend!

    • Nicole 21/12/2010 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks Robert. Yes, me too. Huge dump of snow at the weekend and the roads around me reduced to one very narrow path. Too dangerous to ride, but central London is still good and the old Boris bike keeping me riding.

  4. GJ Baan 21/12/2010 at 1:05 pm #


    A valueable addition you would be to te blog world! .A women’s point of view is not heard much on all the blogs etc. so your opnion certainly matters..

    I have to say though that in my opinion Dutch retro bicyles and hills do work- I have been riding these for years throughout the UK. However you might want to look at the Vanmoof No6 that we sell on our I am quite sure that this one might catch your eye.


    If you love Dutch retro, I suggest you have a look at our site, It is Dutch retro heaven!

  5. Nicole 21/12/2010 at 3:12 pm #


    Excellent, controversy already. I love all kinds of bikes. I’ve set myself a challenge of climbing the Mont Ventoux and possibly Alpe d’Huez this summer and I just don’t have the time to ride everything I want and train for the Ventoux. That’s why I’m after a steel-framed road bike with drops to do my commute on and train at the same time.

    So, when I say uprights and hills don’t mix, I’ll qualify that and say that for my present purposes, when I want to combine my road bike training with my commute, an upright style isn’t working for me. And my hills are hills. The weight distribution isn’t the easiest to contend with because I’m out of the saddle the whole time using my calves and hamstrings when I want to be developing my quads and glutes more for the haul up the Ventoux.

    When I have the time to meander and not train, uprights are the best fun.

  6. GJ Baan 21/12/2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi Nicole,

    Now that you explained it a bit more I can fully appreciate your point.
    So you are all about quads and glutes at the moment?! Can we see a before and after? We want to make sure you train heard and reach the summit of mount Ventoux!
    Undoubtedly you will succeed as you seem to have a lot of passion for this undertaken. Good Luck!

    • Nicole 21/12/2010 at 7:35 pm #

      Of my legs? No. At the top of the Ventoux, mais oui. I’ll keep you up to date.

  7. Zoe 21/12/2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi Nicole,great to have you on board. I’ve been on the look out for a good blog by women cyclists for women cyclists in london… I have the best of both worlds under one (blog) roof!
    Best of luck and looking forward to reading.x

  8. GJ Baan 21/12/2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Hi Nicole,

    Yes, I meant the top of the Ventoux….Not your legs…

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